Growing up, Pilar Amaro’s son Jose studied at a special needs center in Tultepec, a city north of Mexico City. Staff at this Center motivated Pilar to start a business that could employ her son with Down Syndrome, and give him the opportunity to learn and support himself. After giving the idea some careful thought, Pilar accepted, knowing that a job would keep Jose active and away from watching television all day.
Pilar began with a fritter business at a very small scale, offering only two kinds of fritters, and Jose would help her sell the product. Determined to grow, Pilar joined WCCN Partner Pro Mujer, where she received small loans to invest in her business. Not long after joining the organization, Pilar was making eight different varieties of fritters and dreaming of growing even more.
“Pro Mujer motivates me,” says Pilar. “It’s been wonderful for me because it allowed my business to grow. When we have a lot of work, I hire a second person; someone with special needs like my son, and I am always surprised by how skillful they both are.”
When Pilar joined Pro Mujer, she had recently lost a 19-year-old son to bone cancer. “She was disengaged and easily upset,” group members recall. With time and the support of other Pro Mujer women, Pilar started to change. Today, Pilar has embraced leadership in her Pro Mujer group. She is supportive and motivates other women to be responsible and only borrow what they can repay.
Pilar’s family is thriving, and her husband supports her in every way, which wasn’t always the case. “He didn’t want me to start a business because he gave us everything we needed, but having seen how much the business has helped us, he’s become involved in every aspect of it,” she says.
Thanks to WCCN and
Pro Mujer’s support, Pilar has been able to add even more products to her roster, including canned goods, cookies, and sweets. She has also renovated a new space, in addition to her market stand. “Pro Mujer means so much to me,” says Pilar, “Even with a successful business, I will always be a part of Pro Mujer.”